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On a Hill
On a Hill
Price: 0.77

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a neat little story - superb, 10 Sep 2013
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This review is from: On a Hill (Kindle Edition)
Big congrats to Michael on this excellent Gothic tale. I can recommend 'On a Hill' to anyone who enjoys well composed Gothic mysteries, including an atmosphere as dreary and bleak as the fate of is protagonists. Well done!

Falling Over
Falling Over
Price: 2.44

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent writing, 19 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Falling Over (Kindle Edition)
First off, I normally don't write reviews on Amazon, but this collection of short stories is so outstanding that I just had to write one. I first came across James' work, having read The Shelter. I then read The Other Room which was just as good.
As for Falling Over, I really appreciate the hard work that went into writing the individual stories. One of James' great strength is the creation of atmospheres that captivate (and stay with) the reader's imagination. And this takes a lot of work. On this note, one of my favourite stories in Falling Over is Sick Leave. I love how Emma's sickness merges with the gloomy weather, and how both the weather and her poor health form part of a greater mystery. Very elegantly constructed - a triumvirate of gloominess. Personally, perhaps because I've spent a long time in university myself, James' writing really excels in stories that deal with adolescence and college life. Falling Over in this volume and When the Walls Bend in The Other Room fall into this category, and are amongst my all time favourite short stories! I would love to see more of this in the future.
So in conclusion, keep up the great work James! I really had an excellent time reading Falling Over. And man, Sick Leave was really creepy. It'll stay with me for a long while, just like When the Walls Bend!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 23, 2013 12:50 PM BST

Price: 1.99

4 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, poor realization, dreadful prose, 7 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Plague (Kindle Edition)
The title does this book justice: it is a plague indeed! The idea is great and I do really appreciate Lisa's attempt to situate the entire story in a confined environment. But here's the great secret, Lisa: in order to make this kind story work both intellectually and emotionally your prose needs to top-notch, and your's really isn't. Come on, are you really charging your readers more than a quid to read cheese like "Time's nothing in this place" ( p. 148; in the context of a death-related dream) or "I don't need you dying senselessly at the hands of a desperate government" (p. 21)??? There are, of course, many more examples of such stilted, outright ridiculous statements scattered throughout the book. Also, the critical reader will notice that Lisa is only capable of using one narrative technique to create the allegedly bleak and claustrophobic atmosphere to which previous reviews have referred - namely repetition. Page after page you will read about how flies and other vermin afflict her characters, yet the horror of the situation gets buried under layer after layer of dull repetitions. 'Hold on!' your devoted fans will say! 'Don't you get it? That's the intended effect of repetition! It's meant to to underscore the despair and sheer dreadfulness of the situation in which the characters find themselves!'. Okay, okay, I get that. But here's the point: if you use repetition as a stylistic element (not a bad choice), then please make sure that it's not just based on a copy and paste operation. Using repetition effectively requires you to think about what exactly it is you want to repeat and, above all, about how you are going to repeat the same scene over and over again. Repetition does not mean regurgitating the same old scene ad infinitum. Have a look at Lowry's 'Under the Volcano' to get an idea of how repetition can be used elegantly and effectively.

In a nutshell, innovative story 'plagued' by horrible prose.

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